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Mohammedan Sporting rubbishes closure reports, says it won't play in I-League 2nd division

Mohammedan Sporting – a 123-year-old Kolkata based football club -- has slammed media reports that it was shutting down. Instead it has opted against playing in the second division I-League and also pulled out of Durand Cup football tournament, beginning October 28, apparently due to financial crisis

Kolkata: Mohammedan Sporting have opted against playing in the second division I-League and the club has also pulled out of Durand Cup football tournament, beginning October 28, apparently due to financial crisis.

Dismissing reports that the club was being disbanded, president and MP Sultan Ahmed told PTI: "We will not play in the I-League and Durand Cup in the upcoming season as the club is not able to meet club licensing criteria of the AIFF.

We will make the club ready and develop the infrastructure and take part in the (second division) I-league from 2015-16 onwards." In May this year, the Kolkata outfit was barred from competing in the I-League after failing to meet AFC's club licensing criteria.

Asked whether the 123-year-old club, devoid of any sponsors, were reeling under acute financial crisis in the wake of the chitfund scam that has hit the state, Ahmed said: "It's been there for a long time not only for us but for many football clubs in India. But we have managed so far." Another club official however said it was reportedly running losses to the tune of Rs 1.5 to 2 crore. "Unless our sponsors don't provide us necessary financial support, it's not possible for us to go and play the Durand Cup.

We will play the tournament only if they help us," the official said. "Now because of the AIFF rules, we cannot play the Federation Cup too," he said referring to their I-Leaguerelegation last season that bars the club from participating in the Federation Cup.

Ahmed however said the club would participate in next season's Calcutta Football League Premier Division and also the IFA Shield besides taking part in invitational tournaments.

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